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Amazon’s Spinmasters: Behind the Internet Giant’s Battle With the Press

There was a time when Jeff Bezos barely cared about public relations. But after years of increasingly hostile media coverage and growing public scrutiny of Amazon, the company has gone on the offensive against journalists. It even measures its PR team on the corrections they get on stories.

From left: Amazon's Drew Herdener, Jeff Bezos and Jay Carney. Photos by Getty; Bloomberg.
From left: Amazon's Drew Herdener, Jeff Bezos and Jay Carney. Photos by Getty; Bloomberg.
Nov. 12, 2021 8:01 AM PST

Amazon’s leaders are known for obsessively monitoring data about almost every aspect of its business. Public relations is no exception.

In late 2016, the executives in charge of the company’s sprawling PR department came up with a system to address the growing exasperation that Jeff Bezos, then the company’s CEO, felt whenever he came across media coverage he viewed as inaccurate. A team within the PR department was tasked with identifying over 90% of media reports that contained information Amazon deemed factually inaccurate within two hours of publication, according to three former employees familiar with the goals of the group.

Additionally, the group was told to obtain corrections on over 90% of those stories. Amazon did, however, make allowances on its deadline for identifying errors for stories published in the middle of the night.

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